New website to help protect animal lovers from dodgy pet sellers


A NEW website has been launched to protect members of the public from dodgy pet sellers.

PDSA has joined forces with other animal welfare organisations, veterinary and industry bodies to stop Britain's animal lovers being duped into buying pets advertised online that could be sick, underage or illegally imported into the UK.

Other organisations and charities involved include Dogs Trust, British Veterinary Association, Cats Protection, City of London Trading Standards, Reptile and Exotic Pet Trade Association, RSPCA and Scottish SPCA. aims to help equip members of the public with the knowledge to buy a pet responsibly and know what questions to ask when dealing with a seller.

Latest research carried out by the Pet Advertising Advisory Group, found 37 per cent of people admitted they did no research before buying a pet, and with 1,000 new online adverts for pets appearing online every day in the UK, the website will help pet lovers spot an untrustworthy advert of scam and report suspicious websites or traders.

The website will also focus on the research prospective owners should carry out before they buy and tell them what to expect from pet ownership.

In a survey, almost half of the British public admitted to being unaware that regulations for the buying and selling of animals online even existed, or that commercial pet sellers are now required by law to be inspected and licensed by their Local Authority.

Paula Boyden, chair of Pet Advertising Advisory Group, said: "We're a nation of animal lovers, making us an easy target for unscrupulous sellers. Our research has found that we live in a click-first society where people will often head to online adverts for a pet because they can choose based on the best price, nearest location and how quickly they can get the animal they want. They are inundated with cute pictures and great offers which are very difficult to turn down. But, as we've seen time and time again, when an advert seems too good to be true it probably is.

"Many of these sellers are underhand, putting profit before welfare. The public - who have the best intentions and want to give an animal a loving home - are not at fault; is designed to protect them; to help stop people becoming a victim of a scam and to eliminate their chance of ending up with a sick pet, huge veterinary bills and heartbreak. We want our website to become the first step in their journey to getting a happy, healthy pet."

The Pet Advertising Advisory Group is continuing its work with a number of classified websites including Gumtree, Pets4Homes and PreLoved to remove illegal adverts, and is pushing for all websites to commit to a set of minimum guidelines which all of their animal adverts should adhere to, ensuring all pets being advertised are done so legally and ethically.

Paula added: "We want the day to come when people are confident regarding the authenticity of an advert or seller. We are working hard today, to ensure the pet owners of tomorrow can buy a happy, healthy pet knowing it has been bred responsibly and the person they are buying from can be trusted."